- Cardano smart contracts platform to hardfork into mainnet on September 12.
- The hardfork is to bring decentralized applications with all new possibilities to the Cardano network.
- Challenges facing the platform could however slow down the network’s race to flip Ethereum.
The Cardano (ADA) blockchain first launched Alonzo – its smart contracts upgrade – on a testnet basis in May. Alonzo was to roll out in three phases, Alonzo blue, white and purple with each opening up to more of the public until it fully integrates. Currently, it is nearing the end of the purple phase which was launched in August.
This has fueled anticipation for all the functionality that will be available on the network soon. The price of ADA was driven to a new all-time high of over $3 last week after Input-Output, the company developing Cardano, announced that it had deployed the Plutus smart contract capability on the protocol’s testnet as part of Alonzo purple.
The Plutus smart contract platform is what lets developers start building decentralized applications. The first decentralized finance application, MinSwap, was tested on the network using it. But the rollout was not without problems as there were complaints about network limitations, causing them to drop the testing phase to solve the issues.
However, the network is going on with its plans to integrate smart contracts fully on the network, effectively ending the Alonzo purple testnet and moving to the mainnet. This is scheduled to take place in a few hours from now, Sunday, September 12.
The hardfork could be a huge game-changer for the network and the entire cryptocurrency market. The anticipation surrounding it has been attributed to several factors that have the potential to steer the cryptocurrency industry in a new direction.
With the hardfork, it is expected that all kinds of decentralized applications (DApps) that use smart contracts can be built on Cardano. This means that Cardano’s use cases will expand to support Decentralized Finance (DeFi) and Decentralized Exchanges (DEX), to add to NFTs that can already be minted and traded on the platform.
To be expected on launch day is the ability for developers to be able to interact with platforms’ CLI interface. The core development team has revealed that select functions will be available at launch. However, the use of Plutus, the framework to enable smart contract deployment on the network, will be enabled for the public through subsequent updates.
This is why market sentiment is currently polarized for the launch. Proponents agree that Cardano could possibly flip Ethereum’s dominance as the de facto smart contracts platform but are divided on how and when this will happen. The possibility is strong as Cardano already opts for the more energy-efficient proof of stake protocol and offers a cheaper transaction cost than Ethereum. Cardano is also designed to be more practical than Ethereum in settling transactions.
However, the challenges that Cardano has faced with the testing of the smart contract platform, which seemed to imply that the network begets scaling concerns in handling decentralized applications, may slow down the rollout of all the features that are achievable.
Several developers have claimed that they have solved the problems but none have revealed their solution. SundaeSwap, one of the DeFi applications being built on Cardano which also claims to have resolved the issue, has said it will push back its launch to mid-October.